Development of value-added Biomaterials from Oil Palm Agro-wastes M.A. Abdullah*, M.S.Nazir

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Development of value-added Biomaterials from Oil Palm Agro-wastes M.A. Abdullah*, M.S.Nazir
2011 2nd International Conference on Biotechnology and Food Science
IPCBEE vol.7 (2011) © (2011) IACSIT Press, Singapore
Development of value-added Biomaterials from Oil Palm Agro-wastes
M.A. Abdullah*, 2.M.S.Nazir
Department of Chemical Engineering,
Universiti Teknologi Petronas,
tronoh, Perak Malaysia.
Corresponding Author: [email protected]*
[email protected]
Department of Fundamental and Applied Sciences,
Universiti Teknologi Petronas,
Tronoh, Perak Malaysia.
[email protected]
recorded. Currently 85.5% out of more than 70 million
tonnes of biomass is generated by Malaysian Oil Palm
Industries [7,8]. The types of oil palm biomass include
empty fruit bunch (EFBs), fiber, shell, wet shell, palm kernel,
fronds and trunks [9].
In this study, the development of value-added
biomaterials from oil palm agro waste is discussed. The
review presented will be of great interest to the existing oil
palm mill as a new economic model.
Abstract— There is a wide spread availability and massive
generation of oil palm agro wastes in Malaysia. This calls for
co-ordinated effort to manage the wastes and to develop value
added products from them. Empty Fruit Bunch (EFB) can be
treated by physical and chemical processes to extract oil and
cellulose. Cellulose is composed of a set of parallel chains of
glucose molecule with anhydroglucose unit that has three
hydroxyl carbon available (C-2, C-3& C-6) for derivatization.
Cellulose chains form a highly ordered structure known as
microfibril. Highly crystalline forms of cellulose are difficult to
work with and often unpredictable in behaviour. Noncrystalline form on the other hand could be produced that
would open up new possibilities for cellulosic-based
biopolymers. Mesophases of cellulose could determine the
order of molecular orientation, anisotropy of fiber. High tensile
strength fiber depends upon the molecular arrangement in the
cellulose crystallites.
Empty fruit bunches (EFBs) can be a source of
biopolymers such as polyhydroxyalkonates (PHAs) and
polylactate (PLA) [10]. Bioplastics have similar
characteristics as petroleum derivatives used for packaging
material. In bioplasic production, sugar is obtained from the
EFB which is used as a cheap carbon source in bacterial
fermentation. Starch and Cellulose are first converted into
organic acids like lactic acids which are then polymerized to
form bioplastic. EFB has been used as inorganic fertilizer by
incineration method and as organic fertilizer directly thrown
back and mulched in the field [11]. Every 5 tonnes of EFB
produces one tonne of pulp [12].
Cellulose and hemicelluloses can be extracted from the
EFB fibers and the wall of oil palm trunk fibers by using
solvent such as NaOH with 2% H3BO3 under different time
intervals. The hemicelluloses in the cell walls of palm EFB
has a higher degree of polymerization than the
hemicelluloses in the cell walls of palm trunk fiber as
indicated by the molecular average weights, ranging from
7,200 to 22,900 in the former, as compared to 6,600 to
17,400 in the latter [13]. EFB vascular strands contain 70%
holocellulose and 17.2% Klason lignin. Chemical
composition studies on oil palm trunk and EFB fiber suggest
resemblance to the grasses and cereal straws in their
polysaccharide composition except for the higher lignin and
lower ash content [14]. Leaf cell wall of oil palm contains
moderate amount of crystalline cellulose. The major
polysaccharides are acetylated arabinoxylans as in the
Gramineae. Based on 13C-NMR spectroscopy, the major
monosaccharide residues present in the oil palm trunk are
glucose and xylose. This suggests that cellulose and xylans
are the predominant polysaccharides in the cell wall of palm
trunks [15]. Lignin is phenolic polymeric complex molecule
Keywords-Oil Palm Empty fruit bunch, agro-wastes,
lignocellulosic materials, liquid crystalline, nanofibers,
biomaterials, molecular-preferred orientation.
Oil Palm (Elaeis guineensis) is the most important
species in Elaeis genus which belongs to the family Palamae
[1]. It is cultivated in West Africa and in all tropical areas
especially in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. The oil palm
fruit is reddish in colour and has a size of large plum, and
grows in large bunches. A bunch usually has the weight of
10 to 40 kg. Each fruit consists of a single seed (the palm
kernel) and surrounded by a soft oily pulp mesocarp. Oil is
extracted from both the fruit pulp and the kernel. The oil
extracted from fruit pulp is used for edible purposes, whilst
the extracted oil from kernel is used for the manufacturing of
soap [2]. Palm oil has now become world’s largest source of
edible oil with 38.5 million tones or 25% of the world’s total
oil and fat production [3]. In 2006, Indonesia was the world’s
largest producer of palm oil with 15.9 million tonnes of oil or
44% of the world’s total export. Malaysia comes close
second with 15.88 million tonnes or 43% of the world’s total
export [4]. In 2007, productive oil palm plantation in
Malaysia was 4.3 million hectares, which was 3.4% increase
from previous year [5]. One hectare of oil palm plantation
could produce about 50-70 tonnes of biomass residues [6]. In
2005, about 55.73 million tonnes of oil palm biomass was
that attaches to cellulose and hemiceellulose, throuugh Hbonding and other ether linkage to make
chain stiff andd rigid.
Figure 3: A)
A Intra and B) Inntermolecular intteractions [16]
In most natuural fibers, thhe microfibrilss orient themselves
at an angle to thhe fiber axis ccalled the “miicrofibril anglle”. It
mation about the elastic, creep
and streength
wiill give inform
prroperties of wood samp
mple. Microfiibers have been
dissolvedd cellulose, from which thrreads,
yaarns and fabriccs can be madde. These celllulosic microffibers
m be used too produce fabbrics with verry soft feel thhat is
chharacteristic of
o microfiber fabrics, and water absorb
annd comfort of
o cellulosic fabrics. Thhese fabrics have
exxceptional abiilities to remoove dust and oil droplets from
suurfaces and gaas streams, andd are useful in
n filter media.. In a
sppherical celluloose material w
where the celllulose materiaal is a
waater-insoluble polysacchariide formed byy β-1,4-type sugar
linnkages, the deegree of crysttallinity is 70
0% or greater, and
arre formed radially from the center too the
peeriphery [16].. The dissoluution of cellu
ulose in seleective
soolvent has beenn described ass a very recennt subject for direct
dissolution and regeneration of
o cellulose fib
Figure 1: Cellulose polymers [15]
Cellulose is a linear ppolymer of annhydroglucosee units
Two addjacent
linked togethher with β-1,44-glucosidic bond.
glucose units are linked byy the eliminattion of one moolecule
ween their hydrroxyl group att carbon 1 andd 4.
of water betw
Figure 2: Anhhydroglucose unitt [16]
Three hyddroxyl group of anhydrogglucose are able
interact and form
fo hydrogenn bond by meaans of intra annd inter
molecular inteeraction. The strength of thhis hydrogen bond
around 25 KJJ/Mol (Van dder Waal forcee 0.15 KJ/Mool; O-H
Covalent bond 460 KJ/Moll). From infrarred spectroscoopy, X(
ray diffractioon and nucleear magnetic resonance (NMR)
investigationss, it is show
wn that interm
molecular hyydrogen
bonding betw
ween O-3-H and
a O-5 of addjacent unit; assume
the existencee of a secondd intermolecuular hydrogenn bond
between O-2--H and O-6.
Figure 4: Struccture of Lignin [25]
The large-sccale plantation of Oil Palm
m in Malaysiaa has
resulted in hugge productionn of EFBs. Frrom one tonnne of
paalm oil produuced, 220Kg of EFB geneerated, and annnual
prroduction of EFBs
stands hhigh at 2.8 too 3 million tonnes.
Thhe compositioon of EFB includes watter 58%, nitrrogen
0.80%, phosphoorous 0.06%, K 0.24%, Mg
M 0.18% on fresh
This peercentage maay vary with
h the
weeight basis [17].
vaariation of onee or multiple ggrowth factorss, climatic channges,
sooil fertility, fertilizer
utilizzation and other
prractices. The presence
of innorganic comp
ponents in the EFB
suuch as nitrogeen, phosphoroous, potassium
m and magneesium
ennable its utilizzation as ferttilizer. Phosphhorous, potasssium
annd nitrogen (PKN) are the ggood fertilizer as required foor the
prroper growth of
o plants. EFB
B has the potential to redu
uce or
replace the neeed of fertilizzer at the am
mount 4.4 kg
k of
k of Muriate, 2.8 kg of rocck phosphate and
a 7
Kiieserite, 19.3 kg
kgg of urea per one
o tonne of E
EFB mulch in agro
field [18]].
EFB also haas the potentiial as a source of lignin fo
or the
prroduction of ethanol.
The ethanol producction from EF
FB by
countries like Malaysia and Indonesia may have to meet the
1-2% utilization of gasoline with 15.88 Million tonnes of
crude palm oil and total production of EFB estimated at 6.19
Million tonnes. The estimated availability of 3.72 million
tonnes of EFB would have potential for 0.30 Million kL of
ethanol production [19].
Many composite materials have been synthesized and
studied for their potential uses. A study on the synthesis of
composite material, the EFB pulp as the reinforced agent in
polypropylene (PP) composite, has reported material with
high tensile and flexural properties. The EFB obtained by
basic (NaOH) pulping may increase its crystallinity and
enhances the interaction with the polypropylene (PP),
resulting in high strength of lignocellulosic composite [20].
High quality Briquette fuel is produced by the mixing of
100% pulverized Empty Fruit Bunch (EFB) with sawdust or
Palm kernel expeller (PKE) [21]. Hybrid Composites of EFB
prepared with jute have high tensile properties and
hydrophobicity as compared to pure EFB composite. EFBJute composites have higher density of 1.2 g/cm3 that
improve the tensile property and reinforcement of composite
[22]. In composite material, most of lignocelluloses is used
as filler in thermoplastic matrix. EFB-Benzoylated
composite exhibits enhanced tensile properties due to
interaction and adhesion with the polymer matrix [23].
Lignocellulosic fibers also have the potential to replace
the synthetic fibers such as aramid and glass fibers in the
field of composite material. Lignocellulosic fibers have low
density (1.25-1.50 g/cm3) as compared to the fiber glass (2.6
g/cm3), but have high tensile strength as in plastic materials,
environmentally friendly and easy to handle as compared to
the synthetic Glass fibers. Cutting, mounting and other
operational processes may lead to more severe health
problems for the workers, including skin and respiratory
diseases, but lignocellulosic fibers are safer. These fibers can
be thermal insulators and easily recyclable and
Pharmaceutical grade lignocellulosic fiber can also be
synthesized. the typical tendon ligament fibers of joint are
shown in Figure 5. The lignocellulosic composite fiber may
be used for the replacement of bone ligament.
Lignocellulose composite material of desired use would
have the strength of 28-40 MPa and the strain of 20-30% at
body temperature in high moisture content [24]. Malaysian
Oil Palm agro-wastes have very good potential application as
untreated (fuel, fertilizer) or treated materials (pulp and paper,
composites used for mechanical purposes) and materials with
high purity of the Health grade (ligament replacement fibers).
In this study, the potential development of Oil Palm Agro
Waste value added bio-materials is discussed. EFB
utilization has applications as fertilizer, fuel and synthesis of
high tensile composite materials for mechanical and
pharmaceutical grade. This may be of great interest to
existing oil palm mill as a new economic model.
Figure 5: Tendon Ligament Fibers [24]
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